Shallow Thoughts : tags : pinon

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Thu, 23 Dec 2021

Lost Some Trees to Bark Beetles

[Piñon Bark Beetles and larvae] This year's drought was fierce. We only had two substantial rainfalls all summer. And here in piñon-juniper country, that means the piñon trees were under heavy attack by piñon Ips bark beetles, Ips confusus.

Piñon bark beetles are apparently around all the time, but normally, the trees can fight them off by producing extra sap. But when it gets dry, drought-stressed trees can't make enough sap, the beetles proliferate, and trees start dying. Bark beetles are apparently the biggest known killer of mature piñon trees.

We're aware of this, and we water the piñons we can reach, and cross our fingers for the ones that are farther from the house. But this year we lost four trees -- all of them close enough to the house that we'd been watering them every three or four weeks.

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[ 18:38 Dec 23, 2021    More nature | permalink to this entry | ]

Fri, 26 Jun 2020

P is for Ponderosa (and Piñon too)

[ponderosa: only mostly dead] In dry years like this one, hiking the trails you see a lot of dead ponderosas. It's so sad, thinking of the loss of beautiful, tall trees like that.

Several years ago, someone who researches trees told us that even when ponderosas look dead, they may just be conserving resources. They might still bounce back in the next wet season. It's hard to believe, when you see a tree covered entirely with brown, dead needles. I confess, I didn't believe him.

But then we had a wet season, and I started seeing miracles.

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[ 09:44 Jun 26, 2020    More nature | permalink to this entry | ]

Tue, 02 Jun 2015

Piñon cones!

[Baby piñon cones] I've been having fun wandering the yard looking at piñon cones. We went all last summer without seeing cones on any of our trees, which seemed very mysterious ... though the book I found on piñon pines said they follow a three-year cycle. This year, nearly all of our trees have little yellow-green cones developing.

[piñon spikes with no cones] A few of the trees look like most of our piñons last year: long spikes but no cones developing on any of them. I don't know if it's a difference in the weather this year, or that three-year cycle I read about in the book. I also see on the web that there's a 2-7 year interval between good piñon crops, so clearly there are other factors.

It's going to be fun to see them develop, and to monitor them over the next several years. Maybe we'll actually get some piñon nuts eventually (or piñon jays to steal the nuts). I don't know if baby cones now means nuts later this summer, or not until next summer. Time to check that book out of the library again ...

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[ 15:20 Jun 02, 2015    More nature | permalink to this entry | ]